Salesforce Transit Center

On the rooftop of this five-floor infrastructure center in San Francisco, California, a park has been implemented containing green structure and walking paths. Noise levels in the park are lower compared with the ground below. Fountains contribute with a masking sound, which is triggered by vibrations from the buses that pass on the floor below the park. The installation is called “The Bus Fountain“. Buss fountain by: Ned Kahn. Read more about the building and the project: PWP Landscape

Low Noise Screens, Helsingborg, Sweden

The urban green space Eneborgsplatsen in Helsingborg, Sweden lies adjacent to a heavy trafficked road. A traditional noise wall was not deemed suitable for the site. Instead, a set of lower walls were introduced (around 1 meter high). The low height allows better visibility and safety than a traditional noise wall, but can still reduce noise through strategic location. See further calculations in the project report (Swedish). Realisation: AFRY Efterklang, AFRY Landscape architecture and Helsingborgs city.

Frankfurt Airport’s Green Roof System

One of the largest airports in the world, Frankfurt, has installed an extensive system of green roofs of about 40000 m2. The intention is to improve the environment, including benefits for air quality, temperature regulation and experiential qualities including noise reduction. A study at the airport has indicated a reduction of about 5 dB as measured in conjuction with a 10cm thick roof¹. Read more: ¹Dunnett, N., and N. Kingsbury. 2004. Planting green roofs and living walls. Timber Press, Inc., Portland, Ore.

Nauener Platz, Berlin

When Nauener Platz in Berlin was rebuilt between 2006 and 2009, soundscape thinking was employed throughout the process. This resulted, among other things, in site-specific noise screens shaped as gabiones, as well as seating furniture with integrated speaker sounds. The project won the European Soundscape Award 2012. The consortium for soundscape was led by Prof. Dr. Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp, Technische Universität Berlin. Read more about the project: Sonic AgentsBerlin Sonic Places and Project report.

Paley Park, Zion Breen Richardson Associates

Paley Park in New York is one of the most famous projects involving masking strategies. A loud waterfall in the far back of the pocket park makes the sounds of the surrounding city inaudible, as well as creating a sense of privateness from other visitors. Paley park was constructed by Zion Breen Richardson Associates  and opened in 1967.

Read more: Paley park on Wikipedia

Landart Park Buitenschot, Amsterdam

As a new runway was built in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, extensive problems with noise was experienced in the surrounding area. Yet, disturbances were found to be reduced when the farmers had plowed theire fields. In a project where landscape architecture was combined with acoustics, Landart Park Buitenschot was built. The Land park Buitenschot is based on a series of mounds that reduces the noise. It is also the largest labyrinth in Europe.

By: H + N + S Landscape Architects, Paul de Kort, TNO, Witteveen+Bosch och Nijemijer & Mocking. Read more at: Smithsonian.

Stortorget (2003) – Caruso St John architects, Eva Löfdahl, Kalmar stad and Statens konstråd

In Stortorget, Kalmar, you will find water art below the ground. Five wells produce different shapes of water and you hear it splash, pour and resonate under your feet. The project allude to the history of Kalmar, since the citizens used to fetch their water from this square.  Stortorget received the Sienapriset award in 2004.

Links: About the project

Ljudkullen – Gatukontoret, Malmö stad and ERA Landskap

Discover Ljudkullen! In Scaniaparken, by the western harbour in Malmö, you find a unique space equipped with speakers. Music and sound art are performed to complement the sounds from the sea.

Idea and implementation: Head gardener Gunnar Ericson and Bo Andersson, Head of Department at Gatukontoret.

Find out more about what’s happening in Ljudkullen at the blog Starfield simulation and on the website of Malmö City. Or listen to Christina Kubisch Diapason II under the heading Sound art. Scaniaparken was designed by Era Landskap.

Solbjerg plads (2005) – SLA Architects

Danish landscape architects of SLA Architects often focus on peoples relation to, and interaction with, a certain location. In Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, they have worked with sounds and other sensuous experiences. The square is provided with wells equipped with speakers, from which nature-inspired sounds are played.




Södervärns bus station, Malmö

Masking / Audio sounds at Södervärns bus station, Malmö

A room with water sounds creates variation in this traffic dense place and moves focus from the noise.

Created by the city planning office in Malmö.

Värdens park – Ulf Rehnström och Per Hedfors

Along the pathway in this park you find speakers mounted in wells. The sounds played are inspired by the sea, since this is the theme of the park. When the visitors follow the path, sensors trigger the playback of speaker sounds, and you can hear waves, gulls, bells and whales.

“Värdens park” was created on demand from Poseidon, an housing enterprise in Gothenburg. The sound path was designed by Ulf Rehnström, landscape architect of Landskapsgruppen and Per Hedfors, SLU

Sea organ in Zadar, Croatia – Nikola Bašić

By the coast of Zadar, Croatia, an unusual kind of music takes form as the sea composes hymns on a large organ. Underneath the stairs leading down to the water specially designed organ pipes are constructed. The pipes are in immediate contact with the sea, and triggered by it’s waves and motions. The composition changes with the mood of the sea, and there is a ceaseless flow of new melodies. The structure is well integrated with the architecture and the spot is very popular.

Read more here and here. With this project, architect Nikola Bašić won European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006. Documentation: webschepper

FUNtain Hydraulophone at Ontario Science Center – Steve Mann

The world’s largest hydraulophone is found outside Ontario Science Center in Toronto, Canada. Visitors can play on the sculpture, which appears to be a fusion between a flute and a fountain. By supressing different parts of the water flow,  the pressure is changed, and tones are produced in the large metallic tubes. The installation, with its two “keys”, provides an environment for interaction between people as well as between water and sound.
Movieclip about the origin of the hydraulophone. Author: Steve Mann, Professor, Inventor and Musician.

Singing Ringing Tree by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu

The hilly landscape outside Burnley in Lancashire, England, has been adorned with a unique sculpture called “The Singing Ringing Tree”.  The creation, erected in 2006,  is designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu, who were inspired by wind organs. The pipes in the sculpture generate tones when stroked by the wind. Length, design and cooperation between the pipes affects the melodies you can hear when the wind blows over the rugged landscape.

In 2007 the creators won The National Award of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for architectural excellence. Read more here and here. Movie by jonathanbrind

Sheaf Square, Sheffield. Cutting Edge Sculpture

Sheaf Square outside Central Station, Sheffield, is a former car park. In 2006 it was transformed into a square available to pedestrians, and the remake included several water installations. One of these, the long Cutting Edge sculpture, screens off the traffic noise and in addition provides masking water sounds. The sculpture also breaks the visual contact with the road.
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